How I Quit My Day Job Too Early and Wasn’t Ready For The Next Step

Denzel Washington as Malcom X

I was Bamboozled! Hoodwinked! Led Astray!

However, it’s really my fault. I don’t think I was sold a lie. But I believed a lie. But let’s start with the truth.

The truth is that I want to be a musician and DJ. I want to make great music and perform that music all across the country and all over the world. I want to do this just like all of my favorite artists have done. I also want my live show to create great experiences for people who like the music. I want people to be able to look back on a show of mine and say that it was one of their great life experiences either because of me or the people they met there; and of course, the art. I also want to act and perform on TV and film like my childhood heroes did. I want to be part of great storytelling and great presentation.

Quiet Entertainer

Additionally, I want to make a lot of money. I want to be able to be generous with that money in the same way that people have been generous with me. I want to support my local church. I also want to support organizations like Christ In Youth that really impacted me when I was younger. I also want a lot of free time. I would spend that time volunteering with kids at my local church, just like volunteers were there for me. I would spend time visiting all my friends all over the country and world that I’ve met over the years. I’d also spend time practicing my craft, both music and acting; and getting better. Eventually, I’d want to spend my time with a wife and kids.

That is the whole picture.

You can earn more money, but you can’t earn more time. We are always running out of time. Not only that, but we don’t know how much time we have left. I started looking to use technology in smarter ways to market music. I stumbled upon music marketing blogs. Those led me to lifestyle design blogs. Those led me to minimalism blogs. I settled on a few experts. One guy told me Sell all my crap. Another told me to stop being a wuss. Another said there is never a right time. Some more people said they quit their day job. What is a real job anyway?

Well, I quit my day job to pursue the music. I was doing great for a while. I had some shows lined up. I was making money. And then it all dried up. No shows. no money. No way to pay the bills. I was on the Ramen Noodles diet. I ate Ramen so often, one day I physically could not look at another packet of Ramen. I chose to just not eat. I’d never experienced it that bad. It was so bad, that I actually lost hosting on this site and the site was down. I suppose I didn’t work as hard as I could have.

A year and a half ago, I was inspired to run a full marathon. Not a half. a FULL 26.2 miles. Running a half isn’t on anyone’s bucket list. So I bought some great running shoes. Some insoles. I talked with a lot of runners. I signed up to a some running sites. Read some running blogs. I got a run your first marathon book. I suppose I did everything except actually get out and run every day. So when the marathon came, I wasn’t ready and I didn’t do it.

I suppose this quit your day job stuff is like that. I didn’t really hustle like I could have. I realized this when I read Jon Acuff’s book, Quitter. I should have figured it out sooner. I knew that there isn’t a lot of money to be made in music business. There’s just a lot more work that I have to do to make my big picture a reality. But that’s the task. I suppose I was seduced by the visions of trying to live the life now before it’s “too late.”

I really screwed it up this year. It’s tempting to focus only on these failures. However, I did have some victories. I played a great live PA show in Knoxville. I did a great DJ set this summer for some church kids (BTW: here’s the difference between Live PA & DJ Sets). I made my first DJ mix, Q-Gaze. And really, at least I tried it. I jumped without fear. It may have been financial suicide. But I tried it. So now that I have to take a minimum wage job just to try and catch up, I at least have a better perspective on what I need to do to create the life that I feel led to create. I need to hustle. I need to focus less on my marketing strategy and make sure my stuff is epic. I need to not care what other people think. I need to focus on the right things.

I say all this publicly so that I’ll actually have to do that. Hold me accountable.

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By Quiet Entertainer

Quiet Entertainer (that's me) is a DJ/Producer that blends ambient electronica with hip-hop. I'm based in Nashville, TN.